Indonesia have successfully naturalized two young players who are playing in the Netherlands. They are set to make their debut in two friendlies next month.
The two players are Ivar Jenner, a 19-year-old midfielder who plays for the youth team FC Utrecht, and Rafael Struick, a 20-year-old striker from ADO Den Haag. Both are of Indonesian descent and obtained citizenship on May 22.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) was going to naturalize Jenner and Struick last month so that they could join the U20 team to attend the U20 World Cup in Indonesia. However, after FIFA stripped Indonesia of its right to host the tournament, the process was delayed.
Indonesia will play friendlies with Palestine and Argentina, on June 14 and 19 in Jakarta.
After Jenner and Struick, there are also plans to naturalize Justin Hubner, a 19-year-old Dutch defender who plays for Wolverhampton in the English Premier League.
PSSI has been promoting their policy of naturalizing players of Indonesian origin since 2021.
Many have been called up and played for the national team such as Jordi Amat, a midfielder who played in La Liga, midfielder Elkan Baggott, who played for Ipswich Town in the English Second Division, as well as midfielders Marc Klok and Sandy Walsh. The PSSI has also naturalized non-Indonesian players like striker Ilija Spasojevic.
Indonesian football has recently achieved several achievements at youth level, such as the SEA Games 32 gold medal and the 2022 Southeast Asian U16 title.
With the support of Erick Thohir, a billionaire and the new president of PSSI, Indonesian football is aiming for more success in the qualifiers of the 2026 World Cup, the 2023 Asian Cup and the AFF Cup.
Inviting Argentina to play a friendly in Jakarta on June 19 is Thohir’s expensive move to promote Indonesian football so far.
The PSSI president revealed that he is planning to invite a high-profile team to Indonesia every year for a friendly, with Portugal, Brazil or Morocco being possible future choices.